Second hand book shop – BOOK-OFF

November 27, 2013 Juju Kurihara 1 Comment

bookEach time I see more people reading books in digital means. A friend of mine says proudly that he has 2,000 books in his iPad. And many of my geeky (or not necessarily) friends push me to buy one of those tablets. Some how it doesn´t convince me. 


I love books. I love the texture of the papers, the sound of turning pages, the smell of it and its weight. I mean I love books. I love just being in the bookshop. When I went to Paris for a weekend, I went to the area where many secondhand bookshops are. In Sydney, my favourite place was a café inside a bookshop. I never bought any (sorry) but I loved being there. Now I have to control myself not buying books and yet, my book collection is gradually increasing. 



jinbo cho1

Jinbo-cho (神保町) in Tokyo is of course my favourite place to walk around. There are about 180 secondhand bookshops in the area. You can spend all afternoon just walking around among books. They sell not only books but also old drawings and other things. I´ve once bought some Ukiyoe for friends. 



I feel calm when I enter one of the shops and smell the old papers. As I wasn´t looking for any particular books this time, I entered just a general bookshop. Actually it was tempting for me to see a pack of Japanese classical novels for a few thousand yen. But I had to say NO to myself.


jinbocho 3


I don´t know how they manage. There are so many bookshops on the street. Although it was a weekday afternoon, there were some people in the shops I passed. OK, it was quite hot to stay outside but maybe there are still people who love physical books. 


I think this is one of the places I can recommend to go when you are in Tokyo. It doesn´t matter if you don´t read Japanese. 




jonbocho 2


Also Jinbo-cho is an office area and you see many Salarymen here. It must be some good spots for eating too. While I was looking for a particular shop, I found this small restaurant where people were queuing. I should try here next time.

Here I´ve found their website. Perhaps you can go and tell us how it is.

Kitchen Nankai in Jinbocho





Jinbo-cho for me is more romantic rather than buying books. Many books are rare and if I bought any, I probably wouldn´t read it. But for what purpose you buy books if you can´t read because they are too precious? 

So most of my "practical" books come from here, Book-Off. It´s a franchise and it´s completely opposite from the bookshops in Jinbo-cho. No romanticism… 

But, the books Book-Off has are in a good condition and very cheap. You can also buy DVDs, music and games. This time I went to sell many of my books that were just sitting in my room. Also I was asked some books from a Japanese friend. Even thought it wasn´t for me, I was happy to be in a bookshop and looking at books. 




Of course, I couldn´t resist buying some. 

One is a calligraphy book and the other is a funny way of interpreting "Oku no Hosomichi" by Baho. Both of them were only 100 yen.


 I just hope that these shops keep existing. 



More about Tokyo

Sawai Inari Jinja

Pack Mart

SL Plaza


1 Comment

  1. Bob G 8 years Reply

    Thanks for the enjoyable article. I also love to spend time poking around old book stores. I used to buy bags of books but I don’t have space anymore and have to restrain myself from buying too many. There is a Book-Off in New York so of course I go there whenever I have a chance.

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